ALTHOUGH you have to pay to stay at Josh Dillon's caravan park, you can't beat the experience given that's not possible at a free camping spot.
The owner of Big 4 Capricorn Palms Holiday Village in Yeppoon said free camping spots were more of a burden than a blessing for small towns as it left locally run caravan parks without customers.
Earlier today, he hit back after a Morning Bulletin report on a southern couple who said they wouldn't come back to the coastal town because there was no camping spots.
Josh said those who bypassed the region were the big losers as they missed out on a beautiful piece of paradise on the Queensland coastline.
He said 95% of his patrons were retirees and thought it was "absolute rubbish" that our tourism would be affected by the few travellers who drove straight through.
Josh said their doors were always open for travellers to experience a taste of the local culture at a small cost.
He said travellers who sought out free camping spots would never be able to experience the true gems of the area without local advice and often wouldn't spend as much money in the local economy.
He also said some travellers took advantage of these free camping spots as a dumping ground for their rubbish and sewage stores and used Kershaw Gardens in Rockhampton as an example.
"I agree with the legitimate free camping spots for places in the west but nothing's free these days, people still look after those places and collect their rubbish," Josh said.
"People think they buy a fully self-contained motor vehicle and they don't need caravan parks any more.
"But they are only partially self contained and still rely on dump points and water fill up points."
Josh said paying the small amount for a caravan park helped out a local family and got people more than just accommodation.
"Caravan parks over the years aren't just caravan parks any more," he said.
"We have all sorts of entertainment like fish and chip nights, movie nights, bush poets so what people pay is what they get."
Josh said all caravan parks paid costs to be able to provide these homely facilities for visitors and him and his staff always supported local businesses in Yeppoon.
Even though winter is the Capricorn Coast's peak season for the "grey army," Josh said he had never turned away a traveller.
"All the research has been done and we have enough sites and cabins to cope with the demand of the grey nomads coming up to escape the (southern) winter," he said.
In the event every park in Yeppoon was full, Josh said all the owners coordinated with Livingstone Shire Council to open the show grounds for travellers.
Josh said the small town needed as much support as possible and it was important to consider the family businesses.
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